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The Cincinnati Jug Band

The Cincinnati Jug Band was led by two brothers, Bob Coleman (1906-1966) and Walter Coleman (1908-1937) who were fixtures of the red-light district centered on George Street in Cincinnati in the 1920s and 1930s. Bob Coleman was the first to make records, traveling to Chicago in May 1928 with Sam Jones (aka Stovepipe No. 1) to make four sides for Vocalion. When he returned to Chicago in order to record for Paramount Records in January 1929, Coleman brought his younger brother Walter, and possibly Jones also, to record four more sides as the Cincinnati Jug Band. These are among the purest and rarest jug band records ever made, and original copies are highly prized by collectors. Oddly, two of these sides were issued under Bob Coleman's name. Coleman would journey to Richmond, Indiana alone for one more issued side on Paramount, "Sing Song Blues" (properly "Sing Sing Blues") in June of 1929. Another session attributed to "Walter Cole" made for Gennett in September 1930 may be by variant of the Cincinnati Jug Band, but this is uncertain.

Finally both brothers journeyed to Chicago in February and June of 1936 to record seven more pieces for Decca, including "I'm Going to Cincinnati," in all practical purposes a blues anthem for the George Street scene, and bawdy, unadulterated numbers such as "Smack That Thing" ("Hey there Mama/You gotta work/you got fly specks on your underskirt"). Mere months after their second Decca session, Walter Coleman's name turned up on the obituary page of the Cincinnati newspapers. No cause of death is listed, but as his age is given as only 29; it is possible that he met with foul play somehow in the dangerous surroundings of George Street. Bob Coleman likely got out of music, and by the time he died in 1966, George Street itself was gone, mowed under a ribbon of brand new interstate. ~ Uncle Dave Lewis
full bio

Selected Discography

x

Track List: Anthology Of American Folk Music

Disc 1

1. Henry Lee

2. Fatal Flower Garden

3. The House Carpenter

4. Drunkard's Special

5. Old Lady And The Devil

6. The Butcher's Boy

7. The Wagoner's Lad

8. King Kong Kitchie Kitchie Ki-Me-O

9. Old Shoes And Leggins

10. Willie Moore

11. A Lazy Farmer Boy

12. Peg And Awl

13. Ommie Wise

14. My Name Is John Johanna

Disc 2

1. Bandit Cole Younger

2. Charles Giteau

3. John Hardy Was A Desperate Little Man

4. Gonna Die With My Hammer In My Hand

5. Stackalee

6. White House Blues

7. Frankie

8. When That Great Ship Went Down

9. Engine 143

10. Kassie Jones

11. Down On Penny's Farm

12. Mississippi Boweavil Blues

13. Got The Farm Land Blues

Disc 3

1. Sail Away Lady

2. The Wild Wagoner

3. Wake Up Jacob

4. La Danseuse

5. Georgia Stomp

6. Brilliancy Medley

7. Indian War Whoop

8. Old Country Stomp

9. Old Dog Blue

10. Saut Crapaud

11. Acadian One-Step

12. Home Sweet Home

13. Newport Blues

Disc 4

1. Must Be Born Again

2. Oh Death Where Is Thy Sting

3. Rocky Road

4. Present Joys

5. This Song Of Love

6. Judgement

7. He Got Better Things For You

8. Since I Laid My Burden Down

9. John The Baptist

10. Dry Bones

11. John The Revelator

12. Little Moses

13. Shine On Me

14. Fifty Miles Of Elbow Room

Disc 5

1. The Coo Coo Bird

2. East Virginia

3. Minglewood Blues

5. James Alley Blues

7. I Wish I Was A Mole In The Ground

8. Mountaineer's Courtship

9. The Spanish Merchant's Daughter

10. Bob Lee Junior Blues

11. Single Girl, Married Girl

12. La Vieux Soulard Et Sa Femme

13. Rabbit Foot Blues

14. Expressman Blues

Disc 6

1. Poor Boy Blues

2. Feather Bed

3. Country Blues

4. 99 Year Blues

5. Prison Cell Blues

6. See That My Grave Is Kept Clean

8. Way Down The Old Plank Road

9. Buddy Won't You Roll Down The Line

10. Spike Driver Blues

11. K.C. Moan

12. Train On The Island

13. The Lone Star Trail

14. Fishing Blues

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